The Civil Society Forum will take place in Bonn two days before the International Foreign Ministers’ Conference and the organisation thereof will be coordinated by KAS. This will be done in close cooperation with and involvement from FES, hbs and FNF.
Of central importance is that the policy recommendations be already developed and finalised during the Afghanistan Activities phase. The forum should serve to present and communicate the contents of the papers. The aim of the Civil Society Forum is therefore to provide a public platform for the representatives of Afghan civil society, i.e.:
‐ Afghan civil society representatives should be afforded the opportunity to publicly present their policy recommendations, so as to communicate their positions vis-à-vis the ongoing political processes, their expectations from the Foreign Ministers’ Conference.
‐ The recipient of this is still primarily the Afghan government.
‐ In addition, the forum serves to convey the positions of Afghan civil society to the international actors engaged in Afghanistan and to sensitise them towards civil society suggestions, expectation and possible contributions for the future of the country.
‐ Last, but not least the German and international public, as well as the German and international NGOs that are present in Afghanistan, are also recipients of the policy recommendations.
‐ The forum is quite explicitly not intended to offer German or international NGOs a plat-form to articulate their own positions.
The forum should offer the possibility to not only present but also to communicate the main content of the policy recommendations. Accordingly, the concept of the forum is as follows:
‐ The forum will structure and divide the main points of the policy recommendations developed in the Afghanistan Activities phase accordingly into thematic blocks and panels.
‐ Each of these panels will be comprised of three to four Afghan representatives, who will be given the opportunity to explain their position on the relevant thematic block, provide background information, and where applicable, to make any existing differentiations among the positions of the different actors and to answer any questions that may arise.
‐ The exact layout of the thematic blocks and the panels remains to be finalised but will most likely follow the thematic layout of the official Afghanistan conference (see above). They depend crucially on the substantive structure of the policy recommendations. In order for the panels to be defined in a timely manner, it is important that the policy recommendations are finalised by October 31st. To allow sufficient time for discussion, there are not more than four panels. Consequently, the policy recommendations should be divided in to four overarching themes.
‐ A serious discussion of the substantive positions of the Afghan civil society representatives is of central importance for the success of the forum. To allow for this, the forum will take place over one and a half days: beginning with an official opening and the first two substantive panels on Friday afternoon, followed by an all-day conference on Saturday, which will include two further substantive panels.
‐ The second conference day will include an official closing that involves German, Afghan, and if applicable, international government officials.
To that effect, the planned course of events for the forum will be as follows:
‐ Opening: The opening will be conducted by a carefully selected, high-ranking German representative, who will welcome the Afghan, German and international guests and explain the process for involving Afghan civil society (Afghanistan Activities and Civil Society Forum).
‐ Keynote: Following the opening, an Afghan representative will be given the opportunity to explain the process from an Afghan perspective and to make vital, introductory remarks about the collected policy recommendations.
‐ First and second substantive panels: Three to four Afghan representatives, led by a German or international moderator, present and discuss the main content of the policy recommendations.
‐ Third and fourth substantive panels: See above
‐ Exchange with Afghan, German and if applicable, international government officials.
‐ Closing of the forum: The forum will conclude with a summary statement from an Afghan representative (again to be elected by the group itself) as well as from a German representative, who is also yet to be named. Here, the policy recommendations, expectations and concerns of the Afghan civil society representatives can be summarised and a final appeal to the Afghan government can be made.
Participation of two delegates to the Foreign Ministers’ Conference
On Monday, December 5, 2011, the International Foreign Ministers’ Conference organised by the Federal Foreign Office will take place. This will be attended by two delegates (one woman and one man) from the group of Afghan civil society representatives to present the collected policy recommendations. In this context, the Federal Foreign Office will actively ensure that the selection of the dele-gates be made independent from the Afghan government and that the group of Afghan civil society representatives has the sole responsibility for making the selection.